Tom Udall

Rating Change: Open Seat Gives Democrats Takeover Opportunity in New Mexico
Rep. Steve Pearce vacates 2nd District seat to run for governor

New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce’s run for governor gives Democrats an opening in his 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With re-election rates often hovering above 90 percent, open seats represent a critical factor in the Democrats’ quest for a House majority. New Mexico’s 2nd District has been an elusive target for years, as long as Rep. Steve Pearce has been on the ballot.

But the Republican congressman’s decision to run for governor opens up a majority-Hispanic district that could be vulnerable if an anti-GOP wave develops.

Fourth Democrat Enters Race for Pearce’s Seat
Retired pharmaceutical exec Tony Martinez announces as incumbent considers run for governor

Retired Endo executive Tony Martinez, who served on active duty and in the U.S. Army Reserve, helped form a local chapter of the liberal group Indivisible. (tonymartinez4nm.com)

A fourth Democrat has entered the race for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District as Rep. Steve Pearce considers a run for governor.

Tony Martinez was senior vice president of the drug manufacturing company Endo and served in both on active duty and in the reserves in the U.S. Army, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

In Tax Return Secrecy, Congress Unites
What some lawmakers said when we asked for copies of their returns

Only 37 of 532 members of Congress responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No matter what their political affiliation, members of Congress have this in common: They don’t like releasing their tax returns. Only 37 of the 532 members of the House and Senate responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns over several weeks, starting in April. Most of them declined to release their tax returns.

Here are some of their responses.

Natives on the Hill Aims to Be an Antidote to Homesickness
Three staffers launch new group for fellow Native Americans

Natives on the Hill co-founders, from left, Renée Gasper, Catelin Aiwohi and Kim Moxley. (Courtesy Sen. Tom Udall’s office)

A new staff association hopes to help Native Americans feel at home in D.C.

“A lot of us are away from home, and so there’s a community element to it. It’s harder to feel Indian sometimes in D.C. because you’re disconnected from ceremonies, cultural events,” said Kim Moxley, co-founder of Natives on the Hill. “It’s like a ‘battling homesickness’ mechanism.”

FCC Responds to Senate Query on Reporter Incident
Official response does not satisfy critics

Ajit Pait, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, did not satisfy critics with his response to the incident between FCC security and a reporter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Federal Communications Commission has responded to a Senate query about an altercation between a CQ Roll Call reporter and the agency’s security, but lawmakers are not satisfied with the explanation.

Democratic Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire had questions about an incident in which reporter John M. Donnelly reported being pinned by a security officer when trying to question Commissioner Michael O’Rielly at the conclusion of an open meeting.

Senators Warn FCC, Trump Administration About Freedom of the Press
Comes after CQ Roll Call reporter was pinned against a wall while covering the commission

Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley says it is customary for reporters to question public officials after meetings, as he is seen doing here. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators, including Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, are warning the Federal Communications Commission about its treatment of reporters after a CQ Roll Call reporter was manhandled Thursday.

“The Federal Communications Commission needs to take a hard look at why this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. As The Washington Post pointed out, it’s standard operating procedure for reporters to ask questions of public officials after meetings and news conferences,” the Iowa Republican said. “It happens all day, every day. There’s no good reason to put hands on a reporter who’s doing his or her job.”  

Word on the Hill: Staffers and Self-Esteem
Get your bikes ready for Friday

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner talks with an aide during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Staffers can learn about the positive effects of self-esteem on performance today.

As part of the Employee Assistance Program’s webinar series, this class will “outline ways to rewire our brains in order to be more optimistic and increase self-confidence,” the invitation reads. Staffers can also “discuss ways to build self-esteem and control negative thoughts.”

Udall: Congress Should Compel White House to Release Visitor Logs
New Mexico Democrat hits Trump over decision to keep records secret

New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall is the sponsor of the MAR-A-LAGO Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One Democratic senator says Congress should require the White House to release its visitor records, after the administration announced Friday the logs would be kept secret.

The Trump administration cited security and privacy concerns in its decision to not publicly release its visitor logs. The decision, first reported by Time magazine, differs from the Obama administration, which publicly released its visitor records — though those logs were subject to redaction.

Wynonna Judd Rips Her Backup Singers During Grammys on the Hill
But Trump was ripped the most over proposed art funding cuts

Wynonna Judd was joined on stage by members of Congress. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

Just when you thought the American public was the hardest on politicians, country singer Wynonna Judd took the cake.

“Loosen up your ties,” the singer said. “Come on, big babies.”

Merkley Stages 15.5-Hour Anti-Gorsuch Talk-a-Thon in Senate
Merkley’s action won’t delay procedural vote on nomination, which was already set before speech

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley wrapped up his marathon floor speech Wednesday morning after more than 15 hours. He then gave bagels and muffins to Senate staff following the all-nighter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Merkley staged a nearly 15½-hour long marathon speech to protest Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, wrapping up at just before 10:15 Wednesday morning. 

The speech fell just a few minutes short of the seventh-longest Senate speech in the chamber’s history, which lasted 15 hours and 30 minutes. But Merkley’s action did not delay a procedural vote on Gorsuch, which was set before he began his speech.